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Old 18th Nov 2017, 1:54 pm   #1
Vintage Engr
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Default Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

Not sure where to post this, but its probably the best place.

Have just come into the workshop this morning to find several flourescent tubes on their last legs. Bearing in mind that the workshop is used for everything vintage & electronic, from D.C. to daylight, I'm deliberating on which type of replacements to use.

The existing tubes have been there for 16 years, so they've done well.

When I first started replacing all the lamps in the house, with LED types, apart from the unreliability I had a number of issues with EMC/RFI. Some were so bad that AM radios were completely wiped out, some the harmonics extended to VHF/FM bands, Some managed to interfere with audio equipment.
It got to the point where when I ordered lamps, I would order one, & then subject it to real-world testing before purchasing any quantity.
Thankfully the later replacement GLS/GU10/MR16's have been reasonably quiet.

I am most fortunate to live in a totally quiet RFI free zone, so the last thing I want to do is turn the workshop into an antenna for LED drivers!

Has anyone replaced their flourescent tubes with the LED compatible types, and if so have you had any RFI problems?

I have 18 tubes here in the workshop, all in perfectly good diffused fittings, so I don't really want to change the fittings. The expense will be quite high without that.

If I have to, I can of course replace the ballasts for high-frequency types, but that opens up more avenues for interference.

I shall of course have to retain my illuminated flourescent bench-lamp, otherwise the turntable strobes will not function.

Any thoughts & experience of this appreciated.

David.
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Old 18th Nov 2017, 2:08 pm   #2
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

A couple of years ago I was looking to replace my 'overbench' fluorescents with compatible LED types and gave up. Nothing seemed right.
So I removed the fittings and replaced them with 'Litetron FT5LED10' units. They are rated at 10 watts per unit and the colour temperature is 4000k so the light is a natural white colour, it's also *very* bright!
RF-wise, I can detect a gentle buzzing if I hold a MW radio up close, but nothing else.
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Old 18th Nov 2017, 2:27 pm   #3
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

Are you sure you want to do this given that the existing setup is working well? The power saving will only be modest, and while the colour rendition will be better it still won't be perfect. Quite apart from the expense there will be disruption and risk. Replacement fluorescent tubes aren't expensive.
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Old 18th Nov 2017, 2:42 pm   #4
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

I tend to agree with you Paul,

I threw this in just to see if anyone had found the perfect replacement solution, before replacing the current units.

Interestingly when I originally purchased the fittings, I was horrified to find that there were no PFC capacitors fitted.

The first time I turned them on, (They are split, on two separate circuits) there was a lound bang as the switch contacts welded up, & the MCB tripped. That was when I discovered all they had was a O.1u acrross the input.
I immediately fitted PFC caps, & changed the switches for named manufacturers 10A X type. No more problems. So having previously spent time fitting 10 caps, I don't really want to have to take all the original ballast out & start again.

It seemed like a good idea at 8:30 this morning.
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Old 18th Nov 2017, 2:53 pm   #5
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

I have used the replacement LED tubes in existing fittings. The initial replacements were unreliable. Now they seem to be OK but expensive.
I would replace with new fluorescent tubes whilst you can still buy them.
They will disappear totally soon, 8' ones seem to have gone already.
If they last you as long again, you are a winner.
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Old 18th Nov 2017, 2:55 pm   #6
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

I agree - I'd stick with what you have.

I'm not convinced that LEDs have better CRI than good florescent tubes. Maybe some do, but certainly not all. The CRI of a florescent tube is indicated in the spec - for example, an "840" tube is 8 on a scale of 0 to 9 (and the 40 means 4000 Kelvin). The cheapest tubes from Screwfix, etc, are 8. The tubes fitted originally might well be worse - they might not even have that rating scheme if they're really old, in which case, who knows what they are? Meanwhile, I can't recall seeing equivalent numbers on LED lamps until really very recently - they usually quote the CRI on a scale of 0 to 100 (if at all), and 80 should be the minimum to go for...

As your existing units use conventional ballasts, they're about as quiet as it gets in EMI terms. The only downside of conventional florescent lamps is the 100Hz flicker, which is very subjective.

Here, I have a number of conventional types, plus a HF ballast driving a pair of 80W T5 tubes immediately above the bench. I have to turn that off when lining up radios, or indeed anything that is sensitive. It runs at 100kHz approx (depends on the brightness setting), and the waveform applied to the tubes is several hundred volts. It's no wonder it causes problems.

I also have an LED strip under a shelf. This is fed from a DIY current source, using a conventional mains transformer and a linear regulator. It doesn't chuck out masses of light, but provides a reasonably OK background light and generates no noise at all.

With LED lights, it seems to be a binary choice between 100Hz flicker or RFI. I'm very sensitive to flicker, and I'd rather not have the RFI either. It wouldn't be so bad if you at least knew which of the two evils you were going to get, but there's no way of telling from the description or packaging - and that's a big problem. Lots of people are affected by flicker, even if they don't realise it - as such, there should be some way of identifying these types. Hopefully one day that will happen. In the meantime, your approach of buying a sample before buying a batch seems to the only option we have...
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Old 18th Nov 2017, 3:11 pm   #7
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

When you say they are on their last legs, do you mean they are reluctant to strike? I used to have this problem with my kitchen and shed fluorescents at the onset of winter when the rooms were unheated, but fixed it by wiping the tubes with Silicone furniture polish. After buying some new tubes that behaved exactly the same as the apparently faulty ones, I remembered having read in an old textbook that fluorescent tubes for Europe had a Silicone coating to ensure reliable starting under the humid conditions found in Europe. The improvement was dramatic, and even the tube in the garden shed that used to be unusable in winter until I had had the heater running now comes on first time regardless of the temperature.

Last edited by emeritus; 18th Nov 2017 at 3:41 pm.
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Old 18th Nov 2017, 3:12 pm   #8
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintage Engr View Post
Has anyone replaced their flourescent tubes with the LED compatible types, and if so have you had any RFI problems?
Yes, I changed my main long bench lamp from fluo to LED. I did not change the rest of the fluo ones in my workshop that light up the general area. I experienced no problems whatsoever, it's a much less bulky unit and the lighting level is much brighter and has a much better spread and generally nicer to use. I won't be going back to fluo.

Here's the thread: http://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/s...d.php?t=138744
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Old 18th Nov 2017, 3:12 pm   #9
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

I'm in agreement too. My workshop is lit by 6' daylight flories using electronic starters which were installed in 2002, I bought a small stock of replacement tubes at the time but have not had to replace one yet.

The available forms of LED lighting seem to be too 'focused' to allow decent all-round lighting of work areas, they are probably best restricted to replacement of spots or down lighters in local areas.

I like to be able to work/read/draw anywhere in my workshop space without the encumbance of portable 'desk light' illumination or resorting to using a torch. However I guess the ecology brigade might have a fit!
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Old 18th Nov 2017, 3:18 pm   #10
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

I went to replace the bathroom lights (GU10) as the LEDs where failing, got three from Poundland (funnily enough a pound each). Blimey they are bright and no noted interference, they use a capacitor dropper. And yes I did take one apart to check if they where compatible with my "dim at night so you don't pee on your feet" dropper which is (was) a 100nF capacitor. They are so good I have had to reduce the 100n to 10n.

They have six LEDs, a dropper cap., bridge rectifier, smoothing cap., surge resistor, aluminium cored PCB for the LEDs and a double shot aluminium/plastic case, all for a pound!!!

And it is a diffuse light.
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Old 18th Nov 2017, 3:26 pm   #11
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RF Burn View Post
The available forms of LED lighting seem to be too 'focused' to allow decent all-round lighting of work areas, they are probably best restricted to replacement of spots or down lighters in local areas.

I like to be able to work/read/draw anywhere in my workshop space without the encumbance of portable 'desk light' illumination or resorting to using a torch. However I guess the ecology brigade might have a fit!
With respect you seem to be unaware of what's available in LED form. For example, the xcite LED battens would satisfy your above stated needs to the tee. http://www.xciteledlighting.co.uk/?p...proList=BATTEN
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Old 18th Nov 2017, 3:31 pm   #12
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

Aldi were selling 4ft LED replacement tubes last week and my local one still had 10 last night

Dave
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Old 18th Nov 2017, 4:06 pm   #13
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

Another Aldi item is 2 foot under cabinet lights.
They used to be made of metal but the latest ones are plastic.
They have a good light spread and the older metal ones produce interference on MW radios only if they are almost in contact with the fittings.
I replaced a 40W strip in my kitchen with 4 of them at 10W each and it is daylight bright now.
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Old 18th Nov 2017, 4:07 pm   #14
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emeritus View Post
When you say they are on their last legs, do you mean they are reluctant to strike? I used to have this problem with my kitchen and shed fluorescents at the onset of winter when the rooms were unheated, but fixed it by wiping the tubes with Silicone furniture polish. After buying some new tubes that behaved exactly the same as the apparently faulty ones, I remembered having read in an old textbook that fluorescent tubes for Europe had a Silicone coating to ensure reliable starting under the humid conditions found in Europe. The improvement was dramatic, and even the tube in the garden shed that used to be unusable in winter until I had had the heater running now comes on first time regardless of the temperature.
Thanks for that tip.

It's a combination of not wanting to strike when cold, as you suggest, and also old age. The output from these has dropped off a bit, although having just measured both the light level & colour temp, not as bad as it appeared.
I'll give them a wipe over with some silicone lubricant & see. (We don't have silicone furniture polish, its banned on account of the damage it can cause to veneered & bakelite radio cabinets).

David.
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Old 18th Nov 2017, 4:40 pm   #15
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

I couldn't find any polish that explicitly said it contained Silicones. The polish I actually used was "Sainsbury's Basics" spray furniture polish that I assumed contained Silicones as it was not for use on bare wood or floors: most stressed that they were wax-based and suitable for natural wood.

Last edited by emeritus; 18th Nov 2017 at 5:02 pm.
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Old 18th Nov 2017, 4:49 pm   #16
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

I bought two tubes from Aldi recently - and they won't fit any light I have! Seems like my memory recall for how ling the existing fittings are was completely wrong!
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Old 18th Nov 2017, 8:10 pm   #17
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

I have a couple of these in the workshop with no discernable interference.

https://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Main_In...bes/index.html

Download the data sheet from that page for details of how to fit.

Colin
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Old 18th Nov 2017, 9:14 pm   #18
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

If I were you I would just buy a whole load of new tubes whilst you can get them and carry on with your existing lighting scheme. I have to admit I really hate LEDs just because it's all eco carp. Anyway back on topic my own shack/workshop is lit with 2x36 watt tubes on proper 50 cycle ballast which also has no PFC condenser just a suppresor cap across the mains. Fortunately it's never caused any problems but why did your fittings weld the switch contacts? Can't understand that one. I also have one fitting of 40 watts on HF gear which causes a little RFI, but not a real problem.
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Old 19th Nov 2017, 12:28 am   #19
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

Good evening,
I suppose, amongst other things, you could call me a 'fluorophile' . I've had a love affair with fluorescent tubes since I was a kid and it was probably a significant reason I became an electrician!!
One particular factory I have been responsible for for the last 25 years still has a good mix of discharge lighting which I have tended over the years. One building has 250W Mercury vapour fittings which I installed 15 years ago and have only re-lamped once. There are still plenty of 8' fittings (sadly 100W rather then 125W) and one area that is lit by a bank of early '70's 6' Thorn SRS twin fittings. These will only work with T12 tubes and I have almost run out of spares.
Due to the dreadful mains supply and low voltage (often 210V, dipping when big machines started), T8 'thin' tubes in switch start fittings would not work.
In 2003, I installed about 30 6' twin 'electronic' fittings. These were quite new technology at the time and expensive. They have been amazingly reliable and the lamp life has been incredible. Some, in non critical locations, are still on their original tubes, although they are now pretty dim. I estimate 10 hrs per day, 5 days per week, 250 days per year for 14 years- that's 35000 hours!! I have only replaced about 5 ballasts in that time all due to burnt pcb's caused by dry joints.
So far, I've been very un- impressed with LED. Granted, they have been external floodlights or GU10 replacements, but well over 50% have failed in the first year- I always seem to be taking failed fittings back to the wholesaler!!
So for me, fluorescent still rule in terms of cost versus reliability.
In the same way that the advent of widescreen marked my exit from the TV trade, the demise of fluorescent and discharge vapour lighting will mark my exit from the electrical trade I'm just not interested in installing LED stuff.
I'm sure no-one wanted to know any of that, but you can't start a thread about fluorescent tubes without me getting involved!! ;
All the best
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Old 19th Nov 2017, 12:56 am   #20
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Default Re: Workshop: LED replacements for flourescent tubes.

Nick - re your experience of early failure of LEDs. I've found that low wattage ones soldier on for years, but the higher power ones (specifically the Philips 10w ones we have in the ceiling light in the lounge) are given to popping off after about 2 years. Not what we expected! They are made in China....
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